Institute for War and Peace Reporting | Giving Voice, Driving Change

Uncleared Rubbish Makes Residents Sick

People in Lashkar Gah want cleaner streets, and health experts agree it is a priority.
The children’s ward at Bost Hospital in Lashkar Gah is always full.

Dr Yar Mohammad Nasiri, who heads the ward, blames poor sanitation in the city for spreading disease, explaining that many children search through mounds of rubbish, looking for plastic and paper to burn as fuel.

“Their hands are infected with thousands of microbes, and they transmit disease to their families. That then infects the whole of society, so that this whole hospital is full of infected patients,” he says.

Local resident Solaiman says he is tired of seeing such filthy streets, and wants the government to do something about it.

“All the gutters of Lashkar Gah are full of trash. There’s no concept of sanitation in this city,” he says.

But Lashkar Gah mayor Mahayoddin says he doesn’t have the resources to tackle the problem.

“We collect garbage every day, but it’s a very big area and we don’t have many vehicles. Three vehicles can’t do the job,” he says.

The mayor promises improvements next year. The municipality has signed a 200,000 US dollar contract with Habitat For Humanity to hire 200 refuse collection staff.

Meanwhile, the city’s street-cleaners say they are doing the best they can.

“My name is Shir Agha and I work for the municipality. I’m working to clean the city all the time and I’m very happy with my job,” he says.

As coronavirus sweeps the globe, IWPR’s network of local reporters, activists and analysts are examining the economic, social and political impact of this era-defining pandemic.